By MARINA WATERS
If you had told Terry Countermine we’d be facing a pandemic in 2020 and he would be gearing up to run in another Jonesborough Alderman race, he probably wouldn’t have believed you.
Now, the health crises presses on and Countermine is ready for another shot at remaining an alderman for another term.
“I really wasn’t planning on running,” Countermine told the Herald & Tribune. “I’ve been an alderman for a long time, but because of the unsettling times we live in, I had probably 50-plus people ask me to please run one more term to get through all of this.
“I have done my duty, but I love Jonesborough. I think right now we need some consistency and stability and I guess some others felt the same. So I decided to give it one more whirl.”
Countermine has been an alderman for almost 20 years. During his time on the board, he’s seen the birth of the McKinney Center and the senior center along with more and more people moving to Tennessee’s oldest town.
“I think we’ve done a good job. I think the proof of that is the growth. Since I’ve been here we’ve about doubled in size,” Countermine said. “People don’t just move to a place for no reason. You run into so many people who studied it and the quality of life and they want to live here and become involved and help the community. There’s a love for this community and I just want to be a part of that. I think I’m a part of that and I want to see it continue through this little blip we’re going through right now.”
Part of the reason he is running for alderman again is because of the projects coming up for the town, such as the upcoming Jackson Theatre and the Jonesborough K-8 School project.
“I’m really pleased we worked all the details out about being able to build the new K-8 school and have gotten that on track,” Countermine said. “I’d like to see that done. I’d like to see the theatre project finished and Lincoln Park behind the senior center … Those are things that within the next four years we can finish.”
He also said he aims to maintain the ‘quality of life’ Jonesborough has been known for.
“I’ve always been for the quality of life in Jonesborough,” Countermine said. “I think that’s so important and I think that’s why people want to live here. We certainly pay attention to all the infrastructure, and we need to do that, but what makes Jonesborough special is the many things that people can do that enhance their quality of life.”
Apart from supporting the town’s projects and culture, Countermine said he felt a calling to run for reelection this year due to the nature of 2020.
He said the divisiveness in our country, and even in small towns like Jonesborough, was enough to make him want to continue trying to unite people.
“It just seems we’ve become so divisive and Jonesborough has generally not been that way,” Countermine said. “I‘d like to do some things — I’m not even sure what they might be — to settle that down and get back to where we’re all on the same page and working together to make our community better.”
That divisiveness, he said, has also brought about an “either or” mentality. He’s hoping to combat that by supporting the whole of the community.
“It’s just so sad,” Countermine said. “It’s like we’re in an ‘either or’ time. You’re either for peaceful demonstration or you’re against the police. That’s one that comes up and that’s just totally not true. I have supported the police in all the 20 years I’ve been there. I have worked with Shop with a Cop and Paws in Blue, but I also support peaceful demonstrations. It’s not an ‘either or’ thing. We are one community and we support all of those things.”
The community, he said, is something he feels is worth the time and effort to put his name back on the ballot for the alderman’s race. And he’s hoping his experience, character and love for the town is what shines through to the community when it comes time to vote.
“I hope people believe and know that I have integrity,” Countermine said. “I don’t say one thing to one person and one thing to someone else. My love for Jonesborough, that’s why I’m doing it. I would enjoy not having to go to committee meetings and all the meetings I go to, but it’s worth fighting for.”